A Fight For More Than Life

July 25, 2006 — 20 Comments

Abrahan Cherrix is willing to go to jail and perhaps even die just to stand up for what is right. This 6′ 1″, 16-year-old young man knows how not to waste his life.

In 2005, Abraham was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease, a curable form of cancer that affects the lymph nodes. In September he began the usual chemotherapy treatment at the Children’s Hospital in Norfolk, VA.

After three months of the usual treatment, Abraham became bald, nauseated, feverish and weak. “His legs would buckle under him. It pretty much devastated him,” said his mother, Rose, who home schools Abraham and his four siblings. But the doctors reccomended a second round after a year of unsuccessful treatments.

After further investigation and reading, Abraham decided he did not want to undergo another round of treatment. He decided to take an alternative route, using the Hoxsey method, following a sugar-free, organic diet and taking an herbal remedy four times each day.

According to Peter Chowka of www.naturalhealthline.com, “the Hoxsey Therapy is the oldest continuously used unconventional or alternative nontoxic cancer therapy in North America. Ironically, from the 1920s until recently, it was usually vilified as the leading example of medical quackery in modern times.”

But many have attested to the therapy’s healing power. And Abraham Cherrix believes in it.

“This is my body that I’m supposed to take care of,” Abraham said. “I studied. I did research. I came to this conclusion that the chemotherapy was not the route I wanted to take.”

But Judge Jesse Demps does not believe that Abraham or his parents have this right, and they have been ordered to report to the hospital by 1:00 today – a time that has already passed.

Abraham Cherrix, 16, and his father, Jay Cherrix told Your NewsChannel 3 they will not report to Childrens’ Hospital of the King’s Daughters by a court-ordered deadline of 1p.m. Tuesday afternoon. Instead, the family will be in conference with an Accomack County Circuit Court judge asserting their right to a brand new trial.

If the Circuit Court upholds the lower court’s ruling, Cherrix’ parents may be held in contempt of court. That means Cherrix’ parents could face additional charges or perhaps jail time.

Abraham’s father, Jay Cherrix, is prepared for the consequences of violating the court order.

“I’m not going to be an obstacle to my son. If a judge wants to throw me in jail, then he’s going to have to do that.”

This time of tribulation has been hard on the family, and it has brought out many scary implications for families across the nation.

“It’s scary that they can come in and they can do this to you,” said Jay Cherrix, who runs a kayak business next door to the family’s home.

“It’s hard enough to deal with a child having this disease, and then to have to deal with this (court case) as if we were criminals …,” Cherrix said, his voice trailing.

Abraham and his parents believe that a doctor reported them to Social Services for not continuing with chemotherapy, bringing them to the point they are at today. The judge has forbidden the family from leaving Virginia. The judge did allow Abraham and his family to return to the Mexican clinic last month only after the teen had X-rays to assess his disease.

The X-rays showed the chest tumor had grown mildly, Abraham said, adding that he wasn’t surprised because natural treatment takes some time to work its way into the body. He said, though, that he has a lot of energy and feels great.

His father is ready to continue the fight for his son’s life, even though he estimated medical and legal costs have helped put the family $100,000 in debt.

“I am worried because he has cancer,” Cherrix said. “It’s the responsibility of all parents, when their children are sick, to get them the best care that they possibly can.”

“When Abraham got cancer, it devastated all of us,” he continued. “I carried him in from the (chemotherapy) treatments and he looked as if he was a survivor from a concentration camp. We thought many nights we were going to lose him.”

Albert Mohler weighed in on the situation.

“The real issue here is the right of parents — rather than a social worker — to determine the medical treatment of their own children,” he said. “Note carefully that Abraham’s parents have not refused him all medical treatment. He has already undergone one round of arduous chemotherapy. They have allowed him to determine that another round of chemotherapy is not in his own best interest.”

“What is next?” he continued, “This case sends a chilling signal to America’s parents. Christian parents should take special note of this case, for the logic of this court would allow state intrusion into many of the decisions Christian parents make for their own children, ranging from education to discipline.”

“Let us all pray for Abraham Cherrix — a brave young man in the fight of his life.”

“It makes you wonder if Social Services doesn’t have enough to do,” wrote Bronwyn Lance Chester, a writer for The Virginian-Pilot, “Or what kind of world we live in when judges can establish standards of medical treatment and oblige patients to follow them.”

This is not the only story like this. Katie Werneche has gone through a similar trial, and it has ended, so far, well.

Katie Wernecke, who was at the center of a state custody battle last year, was withdrawn from Banquete Junior High School last month and has moved out of state with her father to receive a new alternative cancer treatment.

The 13-year-old eighth-grader and her father, Edward Wernecke, are staying at an undisclosed treatment center out of state where they could be for months, Edward Wernecke said during a brief phone conversation Monday.

Child Protective Services removed Katie from her home in June after her parents refused radiation treatments for Hodgkin’s disease because they feared the potential side effects. Katie was reunited with her parents and three brothers in November after a five-month legal battle that reached the Texas Supreme Court. Ultimately, a district court judge ruled that Katie be returned to her parents and that they be allowed to make all her medical decisions.

What is scary about this issue is really summed up in this quote.

“With the court’s decision on Abraham Cherrix, conventional medicine has once against proven itself to be grounded in tyranny. That oncologists must use intimidation and the threat of arrest to scare patients away from safer, natural treatments is a powerful indicator of the sad state of desperation to which the cancer industry has sunk in order to acquire paying customers.”

I hope I am not being too cynical, but I don’t believe they will ever find a cure for cancer — they wouldn’t make enough money.

Please pray for Abraham, Katie, and others like them who are losing not only a legal battle, but also a battle for their very lives.

To voice your opinion to the judge, call one of his numbers and leave a message for him or ask to speak to him during business hours. Here are his phone numbers: (757)393-2990 or (757) 399-5514. Also, continue to watch The Rebeltion for more updates.

Tim Sweetman

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Tim Sweetman is a 22-year-old writer, blogger, and student who lives near our nation’s capital, Washington D.C. He has been much more widely known by his “code-name,” Agent Tim. This name also served as the name of his popular blog, which received over 750,000 visits between 2005 to 2007. In 2005, he quickly rose to become a leading teenage spokesperson and cultural critic within the booming blogosphere, taking on issues such as MySpace, alcohol, homeschooling, pride, racism, tolerance, and other topics relating to our culture today. His blog has come to the attention of people such as Albert Mohler, C.J. Mahaney, Alex and Brett Harris, and La Shawn Barber. Tim’s written work has appeared in Lifeway’s Living With Teenagers (February 2012), Lookout Magazine, FUSION Magazine, The Brink Online, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, Virtue Magazine, Regenerate Our Culture Online Magazine, and on many other blogs and websites across the internet like Marry Well and the Lies Young Women Believe Blog. He has also been featured in WORLD Magazine, The Towers Magazine, and Maryland Newsline. He is scheduled to have an article appear in Veritas Magazine this December. Most recently, his work can be found on Focus on the Family’s Boundless Webzine. His personal interests include writing (surprise!) and sports, both watching and playing. He is a die-hard Washington Redskins fan.

20 responses to A Fight For More Than Life

  1. Excellent post, Tim! I completely agree that this is something we should be concerned about. I wish Abraham and his parents the best and I hope he makes it through this ordeal.

  2. This is not one of those issues that Christians should get all concerned about.

    A Christian couple near where I live decided not to undergo chemotherapy for the wife’s cervical cancer, instead claiming that God would miraculously heal her.

    They showed their faith by not accepting treatment and instead going on something called “The Hallelujah Diet”.

    She died. A Christian Oncologist who goes to my church has told me that Cervical cancer responds very well to chemotherapy in the early stages. She could have lived had she chosen to go via the path of modern medicine.

    In my books, this was gross, sinful negligence on the part of the couple, but mostly upon the husband for claiming that he knew the mind of God.

    In the quest for personal freedom and personal rights, is it a good idea to remain unmoved while a person makes decisions that will lead to their death?

    And if individuals don’t intervene, why can’t God use the state?

    After all, the bodies we have are not ours – they belong to God.

  3. “I’m not going to receive chemotherapy, no matter what. This is my body, the body that God gave to me and in the Bible it says for me to take care of this body,” said Abraham on Hannity and Colmes last night. “It’s my temple.”

    And I believe strongly that I have the right to take and do with my body as I please to do with it,” he continued, “because if you don’t — are not able to do with your body what you want to, then you have no rights whatsoever.”

    He said it better than me.

  4. OSO:

    The couple you cite, was, indeed, scammed. The fact is that Abraham went through chemo already and it almost killed him – this time they want to add MORE radiation. I’d say I’d make much the same decision on this…

  5. I wouldn’t say that couple were scammed – it gives the impression that they were led astray by the promises of another.

    I actually know the guy involved. He and his wife went out on a faith limb and declared that God has told them she would be healed.

    And why the mistrust of doctors and the medical profession? Granted they are sometimes wrong, but they do understand human physiology.

    If a doctor told me to have more chemo, I would be pretty arrogant and presumptuous to say “No, I know a better way”.

    If Abraham dies, chances are that he’ll die because he made the mistake of not taking God’s offer of healing presented to him by the medical establishment.

    And if that happens, he’s an idiot. I don’t care how much of a hero he makes himself out to be – but it is a very presumptuous attitude to think that we are sovereign over our bodies.

  6. I don’t mind Abraham’s decision to forgo treatment. I have seen alternate treatments succeed or fail. The family of 12 down the street from us lost their father several years ago because they choose not to even consider a doctor. But the opposite can also happen (and has). What I find more disturbing is the state’s insistance that it has a responsability to ensure his health. Yes, he is 16 and still his parents ward, but it should be pretty obvious to any dummy that this is a decision of free will that the state should not play a part in. Medicine is called a “practice” for a reason, and I cannot see any way how the state could know better in this matter.

    By the way, his first name is Starchild. Just found that interesting…:-)

  7. OSO:

    The thing of it is that the medical professionals themselves insist that he has less than 25% chance of surviving this round of chemo if forced to take it…

    And it isn’t as if he isn’t taking the oversight of medical professionals either – he’s under this alternative treatment through a medical clinic that works with this sort of thing anyway…

    Ditto to Dakota on all points (I found his first name rather interesting as well…actually, my thought on that was “No wonder he goes by Abraham!”)

  8. My wife spent three years taking care of children at one of the largest cancer centers in the country and we were discussing this case. I wanted to get her opinion. Like everyone here we really don’t know the medical history of this child so it is hard to say. When I told her what his plan was she said, “well that’s fine if that’s his decision but most likely he will die, or worse the cancer may in fact stop progressing but the cells will not be destroyed and it will most likely eventually come back” This is an extremely treatable and curable form of cancer but if not aggressively treated and it enters him lymph system it will eventually re-metastasize and spread, it will be just a matter of time. Chemotherapy is not fun, it can make kids very sick and the options are limited but it works. The odds are stacked against this young man if he doesn’t take his medically prescribed treatment but that is his choice. What most medical professionals fear is that people will see that he made the his choice choice based on conjecture and anecdotal evidence rather than hard science and facts. Simply put he probably will live with chemotherapy and radiation and will most likely die without it. My wife would have perscribed his treatment regiment that he wants to do for every kid she had but she would never do it becuase there is no hard evidence to back it up.

  9. I’m assuming that the reason why the state has stepped in on this case is because they feel that Abraham, being a minor, does not have the right to make such a decision for himself. Moreover, the court has also probably determined that Abraham’s parents are unfit to determine their son’s treatment for whatever reason.

    If Abraham were 18, the court would not have stepped in.

    (I’m making assumptions here about US law that I don’t know much about – but I do know that most western societies allow people to refuse treatment if they desire… but only if they are in the right mind to do so, which, of course, takes into account age.)

    The four-year old son of a friend of mine contracted Leukemia a few years ago. The family are Christians, and they did not take alternative medicine seriously, opting instead for the wise counsel of medical opinion that God provided. After years of painful chemotherapy and the pain of seeing someone you love suffer, he is now pretty much cured.

    May I point out that the doctor who is proposing this treatment is probably doing so because he honestly believes that it is the best chance for Abraham’s survival.

    You need to realise that the alternative treatment that is proposed by Abraham and his family is called “Hoxsey therapy”, and is practiced in Tijuana in Mexico.

    The Hoxsey method has been studied scientifically by the American Cancer Society, who have rejected it because it offers no tangible benefit to cancer sufferers.

    Guys – you have to understand that if you are defending Abraham and his parents you are essentially defending the right of person to stop a medically sanctioned treatment program so they may be able to cross the border to munch on cactus in the belief that it would help them.

    The Hoxsey method is just another Hallelujah diet that I mentioned above. It is a load of hooey. The reason why the judge ordered them to not go beyond the borders of Virginia is to prevent them from crossing into Mexico.

  10. John and OSO,
    Question for both of you: would you like the State to decide your medical treatment?

  11. “would you like the State to decide your medical treatment?”

    If I was underage and my parents were idiots – YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES

  12. http://www.bccancer.bc.ca/PPI/UnconventionalTherapies/HoxseysHerbalTonicHoxseyHerbalTreatment.htm

    This is a page of medical information about Hoxsey Therapy

    Read it and ask yourself – would you be considered a good parent if you sent your cancer-ridden son to be treated this way instead of Chemo?

    And if you’re not a good parent (and you wouldn’t be), surely it is then up to the state to ensure the teenager has the best chance to live.

    THIS IS NOT ABOUT RIGHTS. IT IS NOT ABOUT THE STATES INTRUSION INTO FAMILY LIFE. IT IS ABOUT PREVENTING STUPID PARENTS KILLING THEIR SON BY USING A SUPERSTITIOUS MEXICAN THERAPY THAT IS OUTLAWED IN THE US BECAUSE IT DOES NOT WORK.

  13. Tim: You say “State” like its the anti-christ. The reason the state is involved is becuase the medical professionals asked them to be involved becuase the family chose to ignore, along with their MINOR, not adult, child the medical advice that will have the BEST chance to save his life. Answer this then, how is the states intervention here any different than the incredible lenghts the State of Florida went to to save Terry Shivo?

    I also have to agree with Salient, when it comes down to it I’ll take the opinions of board certified oncologists over anyone else when it comes to treating cancer.

  14. Apology:

    The Hoxsey Therapy is not Mexican. It was developed in America, and its proponents only went to Mexico after the US Government shut down their US clinic because it was pandering snake oil.

  15. I love it when people ignore what I say…

    They did Chemo…the doctor’s themselves say he has a small chance of surviving another round of it…what part of that wouldn’t make you think twice about pursuing it?

  16. David,

    I love it when people never back up their claims with links that prove their point.

    You say the guy had only a small chance of survival after his first round of chemo. None of the news reports I have read suggest this.

    Moreover, the fact that his treatment caused him to become sick and weak is a normal reaction to chemotherapy.

    They did Chemo…the doctor’s themselves say he has a small chance of surviving another round of it

    Show me the money – give me the link where they are recorded as saying it.

    But even if he had a 20% chance of survival with Chemo – it’s greater than the 0% chance of survival if he chooses Hoxsey.

  17. This is ridiculous!! I can`t believe that a court could make you do something that you don`t want…especially if it has to do with your own body and how to treat it.
    I`m going to post this story on my blog!!

  18. I think the state should have nothing to do with the decision Abraham and his family and His family make.We`re not talking about people who are abusing of their child or that are alcoholics or drug users.We`re talking about people who care and love their child.We can`t assume that God has not lead this family to take the decision they have.We can`t say that this court case is Gods way of helping this family either.
    The truth is that Chemo is not something that the body can take in a natural way.Our bodies respond better if we treat them with the same things that God has created.If you consider the many over the counter medicines and prescriptions everyone takes,you will see that non of those medicines cures.They all only make you feel better,only to need the medicines again.
    With Chemo is has gone both ways.But wouldn`t you think that a natural body would respond to natural medicine.That a God created body would respond to God created herbs and minerals? I do.

  19. this whole debate is stupid….if he wants to die then let him…just stop arguing

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. The Rebelution - July 25, 2006

    Abraham Cherrix: Tuesday Update…

    Across the Blogosphere: Check out Spunky Homeschool’s morning post for a roundup of bloggers covering the story. Spunky is doing an absolutely terrific job getting the word out and keeping people updated.

    UPDATE: Agent Tim has posted about Abraham….

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